February 19, 2024

Rockford, IL – Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau (RACVB) is thrilled to announce and recognize the 2024 Rockford Region Restaurant Week (RRRW) “Best of” Winners.

A new record was set as residents and visitors showed their support for 62 participating local food and beverage establishments. The website hosted the voting for the ‘Best of’ awards, allowing participants to share their feedback from January 25 - February 5 as they explored a culinary journey throughout the Rockford Region. Categories ranged from Best Main Course to Best Experience showcasing the diversity and deliciousness of local restaurants, bars, bakeries, and coffee shops.

“This year was a tremendous success for Rockford Region Restaurant Week with new sales records set and expectations exceeded. That is a direct impact of our strategic goal to boost business for our local restaurants, bars, bakeries, and coffee shops during a typically slow period. We want to celebrate the culinary excellence in our region and encourage customers, both new and existing, to continue visiting throughout the year,” said Kristen Paul, RACVB Executive Vice President. “It’s great to see so many people participating and voting for our ‘Best of’ awards and we’ve also received strong, positive feedback from participating businesses who felt the love with support from the community and our visitors, setting a positive tone for the year ahead.”

Stats/Facts about RRRW:

There were 62 participating businesses this year, which was up from 53 in 2023. Another record was broken with 1,805 total votes cast for the ‘Best of’ award, which was up from 1,300 in 2023. Voters were automatically entered to win a $100 gift card to a local participating business their choice.  Marketing for Rockford Region Restaurant Week included local and regional billboards, social and digital media campaigns and more. Overall, social media engagement was up this year to over 220,000 viewers during the 11-day period.

Restaurant Week participating businesses were sent a post event survey, and all reported a significant increase in sales versus the previous week without the event. On average, participating locations saw an increase of 40% in sales, with one restaurant reporting a 150% increase over the previous week. Rockford Region Restaurant Week specials sold on average 30% at locations, with one location reporting that 75% of sales was their restaurant week feature. Many locations reported selling hundreds of restaurant week specials and entrees, which equated to thousands of dollars in additional revenue.

The 2024 Restaurant Week Winners are as follows:

  • Best Experience: This award goes to the participating business providing an exceptional overall dining experience including ambiance, food, and customer service. Winner – Hidden Creek Estates (13276 White School Road, Roscoe, IL).

Hidden Creek Estates is situated on 30-acres of beautiful farmland in Roscoe and provides a full-service Wine & Whiskey Bar with a locally sourced and European-inspired food menu, lodging and luxurious spaces are available for weddings and events.

“Restaurant Week was fantastic for us,” said Dude Frank, Hidden Creek founder. “Each week broke attendance and sales records for us.  I would guess that 75% of the patrons were new to Hidden Creek.  I would consider it a great success.”

  • Best Main Course: This award recognizes the eatery who provided the best, most authentic and unique main course/entrée. Winner – SALT. (6860 Spring Creek Road, Rockford, IL) *first year participant.

SALT. is a restaurant and bar in Rockford featuring unmatched customer experiences, exquisite mixology and culinary artistry. Master chefs create food as art served on white quartz tabletops.

“Being selected for Best Main Course by our customers is such an honor that we do not take lightly. Our mission is to bring a unique, artistic and upscale experience that is something so creative it can’t help but be memorable,” said ZiZi Altamore, SALT. co-owner. “We were thrilled to be a part of Rockford Region Restaurant Week for the first time this year and had great sales during the 11-days and lots of positive feedback. We look forward to being part of Restaurant Week again next year!”

  • Best Dessert: This award goes to the most outstanding and delectable dessert offered. Winner – Dairyhäus (113 E. Main Street, Rockton, IL) *first year participant.

Dairyhäus is a family-owned, homemade ice cream parlor specializing in huge scoops and waffle cones in quaint downtown Rockton.

“This was our first time participating in Rockford Region Restaurant Week because it was our very first winter keeping the ice cream shop open. We were thrilled to see sales up 40% this year! Restaurant Week really helped to showcase we were open to the public and it was a success from the overall experience to the feedback we received and increase in sales during our otherwise quieter months,” said Brent Murray, Däiryhaus owner. “We are so proud to win Best Dessert and are grateful for the community’s support and patronage. As we always have, we will continue to reflect the spirit of our community in every scoop, every flavor and interaction we have with our customers. We are thankful to have the opportunity to serve the Rockford region and will continue this tradition for years to come.”

  • Best Deal: This was awarded to the eatery providing the most creative deal, experience or package. Winner – Cheezy’s Grilled Cheeses (2842 11th Street, Rockford, IL) *first year participant.

Cheezy’s Grilled Cheeses is a unique twist on classic grilled cheese sandwiches and melts. They offer over eight weekly options to choose from, with customization options, specials, and deals.

We are honored to receive the “Best Deal” award during Rockford Region Restaurant Week. This was our first year participating and we were so excited to be a part of this fun collaborative initiative bringing our dream of creating a twist on grilled cheeses and melts to our hometown. This award is a testament to the support of our community and our commitment to providing a unique experience with great deals to residents and visitors. Josh, my business partner, and Lisa our social media guru, continue to give our community a product they want to eat time and time again and build our brand stronger,” said Dustin DiBenedetto, co-owner of Cheezy’s Grilled Cheese. “We thank everyone who voted for us, you drive us to continue creating unique dishes and deals and we look forward to welcoming you back in the future!

  • Best Cocktail or Brew: This award recognizes the restaurant or bar offering the most outstanding, unique, and freshly served beverages. Winner – Ernie’s Midtown Pub (1025 5th Avenue, Rockford, IL) *third year winner.

Ernie’s Midtown Pub is a vintage friendly, neighborhood bar located in Rockford’s Midtown District specializing in delicious food and craft drinks in a warm and inviting atmosphere.

The five winning restaurants will receive an award to hang in their restaurant and recognition on RACVB’s “GoRockford” social media channels.

To learn more about Rockford Region Restaurant Week visit

About RACVB: RACVB is responsible for promoting the Rockford region as an attractive travel destination and enhancing its public image as a dynamic place to live and work. Through the impact of travel, RACVB strengthens the economic position of the region and provides opportunities for people in our communities. 

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Kristen Paul, RACVB Executive Vice President: 815.489.1661 or